success Stories

How Me & the Bees is growing exponentially with Teams

About Me & the Bees

Social entrepreneur and philanthropist Mikaila Ulmer is no ordinary young woman. From a simple lemonade stand and using her great granny Helen’s flaxseed lemonade recipe, Ulmer, now 14, is the founder and chief executive officer of Austin, Texas-based Me & the Bees Lemonade.

Mee and Bee

The company offers ready-to-drink (RTD) premium “lemonade that tastes good and does good” in 12-ounce sustainable glass bottles in four flavors: Original with Mint, Ginger, Prickly Pear and Iced Tea/Lemonade. Me & the Bees is buzzing off the shelves in 30-plus states from New York to California.

Challenges faced

As a small business owner, security is one of those things you don’t think you can afford. In the last 10 years, Mikaila’s job has gone from being a CEO with two advisors— her mom and dad—to a CEO with manufacturing in Virginia, a national sales team, a finance department, and a marketing team. The company needed a dynamic solution to cater to the needs of a highly competitive market and meet the challenges of a growing teams. Also, the company wanted to seamlessly manage & nurture its business across the globe.

How Office 365 specially Teams helped the company

Using Microsoft Teams, the company has enhanced collaboration, sped innovation, and developed an operational strategy that enables it to compete with bigger rivals.
Theo Ulmer: Chief Operating Officer at Me & the Bees Lemonade says: As we grow, we’re always looking for more sophisticated features, and what we find is that they’re already available to us through Office 365. It feels like the solution is growing with you, but really, you’re growing into it.

Hive mentality

Within Teams, Me & the Bees Lemonade has created Office 365 Groups that are divided not by department but by need. The finance group, for instance, includes any operations or sales personnel who need access to finance figures to make better decisions. “If I or anyone on our team needs financial information, we can just hop on Teams, send a chat message to the group, and get our answer very quickly,” says Theo. “One of the things I most love about using Teams is how we can access every aspect of our business from a single platform.”

By implementing a cross-departmental strategy for all types of company data, Me & the Bees Lemonade has effectively sidestepped many would-be data silos. Finance has visibility into upcoming sales goals, Sales can see what marketing campaigns are in the works, and Marketing can see the impact of each campaign through access to sales data. “We’re using Teams, and the interdepartmental access it has given our employees, to make smarter decisions about our resources,” says D’Andra Ulmer, Chief Marketing Bee at Me & the Bees Lemonade. “With Teams, we can punch above our weight and appear bigger than we really are.”

Sweet rewards

Teams is not the only component of Microsoft Office 365 that Me & the Bees uses to deliver the polish and professionalism of a larger enterprise. From the company’s starting point of a unified family calendar to presentations delivered through PowerPoint, meeting notes jotted down in OneNote, and spreadsheets created in Excel, Me & the Bees Lemonade sees Office 365 not just as the solution of today, but as a digital home base for years to come. “Time is my most valuable resource, because I have so little of it,” says D’Andra, “and the tools in Office 365 work so seamlessly together, especially from my mobile device, that I can win back more of that precious time.”
Even when the company’s growing visibility garners the wrong kind of attention, Office 365 is there to help. When Me & the Bees recently experienced an uptick in phishing attacks aimed at wiring money to outside accounts, Office 365 security features immediately caught and flagged the attacks.

As a small business owner, security is one of those things you don’t think you can afford, but with Office 365 we get our security bolstered without even having to ask. - D’Andra Ulmer: Chief Marketing Bee

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